Lancaster City 2-3 Brighouse Town
Three points were needlessly thrown away by Phil Brown's league leaders at Giant Axe on Saturday after a dismal second half performance.
Despite managing to overturn an early deficit and take a lead into half-time, an unusually shaky defensive display saw Brighouse Town snatch two late goals to earn the spoils.
On what is becoming a rapidly deteriorating playing surface at Giant Axe the match couldn’t have started any worse for the Dolly Blues.
Just three minutes after kick-off City were behind to a hugely unfortunate goal.
Clearing Ricky Mercer’s back-pass on his weaker foot, Mike Hale’s clearance was intercepted by midfielder Tom Haigh on the edge of the centre circle.
Spotting Hale off his line he quickly fired a strike that was carried on the blustery down-pitch wind.
Hale managed to get a glove on the effort but only to slow it down to a crawl as it crossed the line to give the visitors the lead.
City were struggling to get into a game which was low on quality throughout, but their workrate alone earned them an unlikely lead after two goals in the space of two minutes.
Tom Kilifin scored his second in as many games, acrobatically volleying Ryan Winder’s corner home from close range at the back post.
A minute later and City were ahead with a stroke of luck just before the half-time whistle.
Craig Carney drove into the box from the left-hand side and his low cross was deflected off a Brighouse boot to just beat the keeper at his near post to make it 2-1.
It seemed like the momentum was with Lancaster after the exciting end to the first half, but the second half was as poor as City have played all season.
From the off stringing together more than a few passes was few and far between, whilst crosses and final balls from promising positions were way off the mark.
The few chances that did arise out of the final period fell to the visitors and they were as clinical as they come.
Both goals came in almost identical circumstances as City’s defence looked at sixes and sevens, unable to deal with balls to the centre of the box and twice Brighouse’s attackers got free close range shots at goal.
First Tom Haigh got his second of the game on the hour mark, neatly finding the bottom right corner, before Ben Atkinson won the game added time, taking the ball down on the penalty spot and firing home past a helpless Hale.
The best City could muster in response were some tame efforts from distance as the Dolly Blues’ winning run came to an end and their lead at the top was cut to six points.